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21 Mortifying Things That Actually Happened To People Who Studied Abroad

Brace yourself.

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1. Little Drunk Lie

The CW

"While studying abroad in Florence, Italy, I went to Dublin for spring break. On St. Patrick's Day, I got drunk and went to get a kebab. But as I was waiting in line, I full-blown peed my pants, puddle style. When accused by a stranger, I denied it completely ... and got my kebab."


2. Safety First!


"I was studying abroad in Paris, and my host mom was this older lady who was very kind and generous, but also old-fashioned. We were having breakfast with her whole family, including her hot son. I couldn't remember the word for jam, so I asked her to pass the 'preservatifs,' thinking it meant preservatives. Turns out I actually asked her to pass the condoms!"


3. So Touching

DreamWorks SKG

"I studied abroad in South America for half a year, and thought I had mastered Spanish quite well. After three months of eating out practically every day, someone told me that I should actually be asking 'podemos sentarnos' instead of 'podemos sentirnos' when we go to restaurants. Turns out, I was asking waiters if 'we can feel ourselves' instead of if 'we can seat ourselves' the whole time!



4. Street Sleepers

New Line Cinema

"I went to Granada, Spain, with my friends, and we soon realized we had booked our hostel for the wrong night! We ended up sleeping on the street because everything was filled up. It rained, and it was cold. Lesson: Always check your reservations!"

—Amanda Kelling, Facebook

5. A Dirty Brick In The Wall


"When I was studying in China, I traveled to a rubbled part of the Great Wall to camp for the night. I felt so sick on the way, and right before sunrise, my butt exploded. To not wake my fellow dude campers, I snuck away and used three rubbled bricks from the wall to make a makeshift toilet, and let it all loose. Saw the sunrise from that seat. Best ever!!"


6. Hot Stuff

Paramount Pictures

"While studying in France, I gave a presentation to roughly 100 people, mostly older men. I am from the mountains and it was summer, so I was sweating — and they asked if it was too warm for me in France. I responded in French the way we would in English, saying 'I am hot.' But that actually translates directly to 'I am horny!' I will never get the horrified looks of the audience out of my head."


7. The Bottom Line

Channel Productions

"I studied in Chengdu, China, where basically all the food was new to me. One day [my stomach got upset] so I went to the subway station bathroom. There was a long line, two stalls, and a squat toilet…and I had noisy diarrhea. Had to walk past that line on the way out!"



8. Stingin' It


"My classmates and I went on an outdoor excursion to Wales when we were studying abroad in London. We got drunk on the last night, and I proceeded to pee in the woods ... after which I started to itch under my jeans. It felt like there were demons of fire and acid consuming my body, so I ran to the mess hall and tore off my pants, yelping in pain. Turns out, I'd gotten attacked by a [mildly toxic] plant called a stinging nettle! I was fine in the end, but the director of my program did threaten to kick me out of the country."

—Jennifer Rice, Facebook

9. That Blows!

Columbia Pictures

"While studying in Italy, I asked a cute old woman if she would kindly give me a blowjob. What I really wanted, though, was a grapefruit. I got the words 'pompino' (blowjob) and 'pompelmo' (grapefruit) mixed up! I will never forget the look of horror on that poor woman's face …"


10. Not-So-Sweet Ride

"I studied in South Africa. One time on a field trip, I tried to get hot chocolate from a street vendor, which made me late to the bus, holding everyone up. Then we hit a bump and I dropped the hot chocolate, but no one heard me, so I ignored it — and it spilled all over the backpacks of everyone sitting behind me. Since I had held up the bus, everyone knew it was me, AND knew I'd kept silent about it. Oh and then I threw up on that bus later. Because of the fucking hot chocolate."


11. So Shitty

Warner Bros.

"I studied abroad in the Peruvian Amazon, and we were going to swim in the Amazon River. At this point I spoke almost no Spanish, and I tried to tell my host family I was scared — but instead, I loudly told my very religious family, 'I HAVE TO SHIT!' Embarrassing to say the least."



12. No Money, Yes Problems


"I spent the summer studying abroad in Argentina. Early on in the trip, my friends and I were out and I realized I didn't have my wallet anymore. Drunk and freaking out, I questioned everyone around me. The next morning, I had to cancel my credit and debit card, which was my only access to money for the whole trip. I had to have money wired to me from my very angry parents in the U.S. The worst part? My classmate gave me my wallet back on Monday. I'd forgotten that I'd given it to him for safekeeping, since his jacket was more secure than my purse. Fail."


13. Finland #Fail


"I was studying abroad in Finland and staying with a host family. The first day after I met them, I threw up all over their bathroom floor after eating a traditional Finnish meal. I was absolutely mortified."


15. Long Time No Pee


"I studied abroad in Munich, where it is legal to drink outdoors. My friends and I were drinking in the park and had to pee, so we just went in the bushes ... but since we were drunk, it kind of went all over me. I felt ~observed~ the whole train back home."



16. Baggage Blunder


"My first act of arrival in France when I was studying there was to try to make it up the escalator with three suitcases. I failed spectacularly. I and all of my suitcases went flying, and all the French people just stared."

—Garrett Ahmad, Facebook

17. Bottoms Up


"I studied in Madrid, and one day, I was getting many more cat calls than usual — cars honking, whistles blowing, etc. Turns out I'd been walking with my skirt tucked into my underwear, and I'd provided everyone on Gran Via with a view of my trasero."

—Valerie Olurtec, Facebook

18. A Night To Forget


"I had just finished my study abroad semester in Prague, and traveled to Paris as my final trip. My friends and I drank wine and champagne under the Eiffel Tower, and next thing I know, I'm back at my hostel in the shower. I stripped down to nothing, and walked to my room in nothing but a scarf (my "towel"). I woke up at 3 pm the next day, so hungover, and found my clothes still in the shower. Then I found my purse, which had: a walnut (I guess I thought it was pretty?), a pack of Russian cigars (no clue), and a map of the Louvre, which I had not been to."

—Caitlin Anne, Facebook

19. Spaced Out In Spain

"While studying in England, I went on a trip to Barcelona with two girls. We were on the beach drinking mojitos, and my friends decided to go in the water while I watched our stuff. Suddenly, five of the men who'd sold us Mojitos surrounded me yelling in Catalan, while I yelled back "No Espanol!!!" over and over. Turns out, a guy was trying to pickpocket me — and they were yelling at him, not me. I was that dumb American girl, not realizing what was going on."

—Hannah Marie Seeger


20. Small Talk

Columbia Records

"While studying abroad in Japan, I had to do an oral test to gauge my skills. The proctor asked me to describe where I'm from, so I said, 'Jamaica is a beautiful country with a lot of beaches and friendly people, but the population is quite small compared to Japan.' Or at least I thought I said that; turns out I said, 'Their penises are quite small compared to Japan!' That poor man."

—Kayla Binns, Facebook

21. Oktober-bust

DreamWorks SKG

"I'm currently studying abroad in Krakow, Poland, and my friends and I took a 15-hour bus to Munich for Oktoberfest. We arrived at the beer gardens at 9 a.m. and started drinking. Next thing I know, the police were putting us into a cab and shuttling us back to our campsite — all before 2 p.m."

—Kayla Weiler-Fox, Facebook

So there you have it: 21 totally embarrassing confessions from people who studied abroad. But chances are, even though they were mortified in the moment, they probably look back on it now and just laugh ...

Creatas Images / Getty Images

... because in the end, it's those very soul-crushing moments that shape you, form you, make your very best memories. And that's what your study abroad years are actually all about.

Note: Confessions have been edited for clarity.

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UPDATE: More details have been added about the stinging nettle plant in #8.